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  1. ITV Report

Landlords who sold vodka made of industrial alcohol 'played roulette' with peoples' health

Screening tests showed a number of bottles of Smirnoff and Glen's Vodka which were below the advertised ABV strength stated on the bottles Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

A pair of pub landlords who passed on dodgy spirits to their customers have been fined.

Husband and wife David and Sharon Purvis of Black and Gold pub in Shieldfield Park, Tweedmouth, Berwick, sold spirits including fake Smirnoff and Glen's Vodka.

When Trading Standards officers visited the pub in August 2017, screening tests showed a number of bottles of Smirnoff and Glen's Vodka which were below the advertised ABV strength stated on the bottles.

Samples showed the spirits were made from industrial alcohol rather than agricultural, according to Northumberland County Council. At the lowest level they contained 5.7% less alcohol by volume than declared.

Berwick Magistrates Court heard a member of staff had accepted the bottles of vodka from a relative who had them as unwanted gifts.

The couple pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 at the hearing.

David Purvis was given a fine of £440 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £44.

Sharon Purvis was fined £150 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30.

They were also each ordered to pay legal costs of £250 and investigation costs of £,1274 - a total amount of £3,712.

And publicans have been warned not to make the same mistake.

Alcohol of this type is usually bought cheaply from itinerant traders who are not legitimate suppliers.

Our Trading Standards team have found quantities of fake vodka and whisky at pubs and small retailers across the county.

A business that sells this type of alcohol plays roulette with the health and wellbeing of its customers and we will not hesitate to prosecute or review the licence to sell alcohol where we feel it is appropriate.”

– Councillor John Riddle, Northumberland County Council member for Planning, Housing and Resilience

Legitimate alcohol wholesalers are now required to be approved by HMRC and all retailers should only buy alcohol from them.

You really don’t know what you are getting if you are buying from any other unknown source. Our officers inspect business premises regularly and an investigation will be conducted if a business is found to be supplying any type of illicit alcohol like the vodka found in this case."

– David Sayer, business compliance and public safety unit manager